Men and Job Loss

Nothing can be more devastating than for a man to lose his job. This takes a toll in many ways; specifically, with regards to self-esteem as so many men define themselves by their jobs or profession. If a man loses his job and has no one to turn to: wife, girlfriend, partner, religious or spiritual group or family and friends, he can isolate and withdraw into himself.

If he cuts himself of from others, he will often become quite depressed and sometimes, suicidal. Men are more likely to follow through with suicide--especially men in their 60's--and they need all the support they can get during this vulnerable time.

In this time of job layoffs and high unemployment, men are much more likely to get depressed and abuse substances. These addictive behaviors not only hurt them but also their loved ones--wives, children, parents,etc. Violence and self-destructive behavior can cause other problems which need to be addressed. These could lead to imprisonment and/or hospitalization (medical or psychiatric). Some form of intervention on the part of friends or family will need to be implemented.

This is where Therapy comes in. A skilled Psychotherapist can provide family, group or individual therapy for these men so that in a safe environment, among other men, they can start to address their anger, sadness, and loss/grief regarding their employment which has defined their masculinity most of their lives. It is the rare man who maintains high self-esteem in spite of losing a job or career. I might mention too that most men need men's groups versus mixed groups (men and women) so that the other gender does not shame the opposite gender. Men, often, get shamed by remarks by women that seem to attack their masculinity.

In conclusion then, men need very sensitive friends and family to support them during employment loses and they need avenues to build and maintain self-esteem so that they recognize their value to family, friends and society, at large, in spite of economic downturns that often have little to do with them as human beings. Finding ways to volunteer with organizations and mentor boys, girls and adolescents can be rewarding and give them a sense of purpose until they can secure employment. Therapy and religious institutions can provide support too for these men as they re-define themselves in a society that often acknowledges men only based on the economic bottom line.

©2010, Michael Shaffran

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Mike Shaffran is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist with over 30 years experience in the mental health profession. He's worked most of his time in outpatient Psychiatric clinics where he has provided individual, couples/marital, family and group therapy. He is trained in multiple therapies, including: Psycho-dynamic, Gestalt,Structural-Strategic Family, Solution focused, Brief Therapy, and other methods. He is trained in EMDR ( a type of therapy for PTSD), hypnosis, meditation and guided imagery also. Mike is committed to ongoing seminars, workshops and trainings to keep current with the latest therapy to provide the best services possible to his clients. www.sanluisobispotherapy.com or E-Mail

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